I am not a patient person.
I don’t naturally tend to go slow. I don’t smell roses - unless I schedule time to smell the roses. I have a hard time waiting. I hate to be late. Time is of the essence for me. Truly.
So when it comes to learning something new, or working toward the next big goal - like building this business - I often feel myself getting into a time-pressure panic. Have I done enough, yet? Am I progressing fast enough? Am I keeping pace with my peers? Have I checked enough things off my check-list, today? Especially! Especially when I’ve figured out where I want to be. When I’ve painted that postcard from the future… I’m like the Donkey in Shrek 2 (Are we there yet? Are we there yet?).
And just like in the movie I need to be reminded that we are going to a kingdom Far, Far Away.
Because that is the truth about Big Dreams. They live in a land Far, Far Away.
Not because they are unachievable. Not because we don’t have the capacity. Not because we won’t ever get there. But because if they are truly big dreams - if they are the motivating, inspiring, Earth-shattering things that they are meant to be - then they require us to stretch and move and travel a long journey. Far, Far Away.
So why then - if I know all that - do I still find myself worried and wondering if I’m going fast enough? Do I still find myself longing for it to be easier? For it to go quickly? For achievement to come and find me here, and now, at my kitchen table?
I don’t know…
What I do know is that I am not alone. (We are not alone).
Almost every question in the Entrepreneurship section of Quora is something along the lines of what is a business I can start today, with no money, and become instantly successful? We dream as little girls about being “discovered” in our local pizzeria (just me?). We scowl at magazine covers promoting the Thirty Most Successful People Under Thirty (still just me?).
We are swept up as a culture in the sense that time is short. That life is short. And if we are ever to achieve something wonderful, we must achieve it now! And if we haven’t done it by a certain age, we might as well give up…
No matter how strong that rushing tide tries to pull us out to sea, it isn’t actually how any of this works.
As cool as it seems to get “discovered” when we’re 11 years old, that isn’t really anybody’s Big Dream. Think about it. The dream is what comes after. The discovery is a stepping-stone along the way to mega-selling-movie-stardom and Oscar-fame. That’s a Big Dream. And that dream didn’t magically come true on Discovery-day.
And those Thirty Under Thirty? I read their bios (I always read their bios). Turns out: Making the cover of that magazine wasn’t even top 20 on their list of Big Dreams. Their prize, their major achievement, their Big Dream? It is still in a kingdom Far, Far Away.
Because that is the second truth about Big Dreams. They are always growing.
What you believe to be insurmountably-amazing when you are 12 (work on the Space Shuttle, in my case), you knock out of the park before you’re 25 (true story). And what gives you butterflies in your mid-20s, you somehow (I know how) nail by age 30.
And remembering that second truth helps me manage my emotions about the first one.
I have Big Dreams. And they live in a land Far, Far Away. And I know that I am going to get there. Because I always do. Every Big Dream I have ever dreamed, I have achieved - or changed into a better, Bigger Dream after experimentation and reflection. Every. Single. One.
What is one major achievement that gives you joy and pride? How long did it take you to reach it? From first conception to final execution and celebration.
Years, right?! Years. Years!
Why should this bigger, better, more-complex, more-Earth-shattering dream be any different? Seriously, why? If there is a reason, I’m listening. Because everything I have learned - from research and experience and conversations with our badass community - tells me Big Dreams take time (and hard work, and planning, and support systems, and growth, and…) to achieve.
So, this is your (and my) new mantra when we get impatient and hurried and panicked that we’re not moving fast enough: Seriously, what’s the rush?
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